Counselor Education

Advanced Certificate in Mental Health Counseling

How to Apply


The 24-credit* advanced certificate in mental health counseling is a bridge program that addresses the needs of two distinct cohorts, both requiring supplemental coursework and training to qualify for licensure as mental health counselors in New York State. Students with 36- or 48-credit degrees in mental health counseling will accrue the additional credits needed to meet the 60-credit education requirement for licensure, while those with 36-60-credit degrees in other areas of counseling (or a closely related helping-professions discipline) will acquire the specialized courses and fieldwork necessary to retrain as mental health counselors. All students complete the 12-credit practicum/internship sequence (COU530, COU771, COU772), which includes more than 600 hours of supervised mental health counseling experience, plus 12 additional credits based on review of their prior graduate transcripts and identification of specific courses needed to fulfill licensure requirements.

Consistent with the mission of the State University of New York at New Paltz, the advanced certificate program provides students with a challenging, student-centered, and personalized learning environment that enables them to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to contribute productively to their profession and communities. For those professionals interested in "retooling" within the broad field of counseling, the advanced certificate program facilitates mid-career changes in specialization to meet professional goals and local and regional needs.

Graduates of the SUNY New Paltz M.S. in School Counseling degree require only 18 credits to complete this advanced certificate.


The following constitute the minimum requirements necessary for an applicant to receive serious consideration for admission to the advanced certificate bridge program in mental health counseling:

  1. Master's degree in counseling or closely related mental health field from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. A grade of "B" or better in at least five (5) of the following prerequisite courses or their equivalents at other institutions:
    • COU510 Counseling Theories
    • COU515 Counseling Skills
    • COU520 Career Development, Counseling & Assessment
    • COU525 Multicultural Counseling
    • COU540 Psychopathology
    • COU545 Group Dynamics & Counseling
    • COU550 Couple & Family Counseling
    • COU555 Assessment
    • COU575 Human Growth & Development
  3. Minimum grade point average of 3.0 for all graduate work.
  4. Completed application for admission. In the "Statement of Objectives" section, applicants should include relevant material demonstrating how their academic, professional, and personal experiences make them strong candidates for re-specializing in mental health counseling.
  5. One set of official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  6. Three letters of recommendation.

How to Apply

Students may apply online or via paper application.  


* Notice to Persons Who Have Prior Felony Convictions

State University of New York (SUNY) policy prohibits SUNY New Paltz admission applications from inquiring into an applicant’s prior criminal history.  
Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet the licensure requirements for certain professions, including the advanced certificate program in mental health counseling. 
Individuals with prior criminal histories are advised to seek advice and guidance from the chair of the academic department regarding the impact of a criminal record on meeting the requirements of the major/professional licensure or certification prior to declaring the major.


Certificate Requirements: 24 credits* 

*18 credits for graduates of the SUNY New Paltz M.S. in School Counseling Program

Required Courses (12 credits)
  • COU530 Foundations of Mental Health Counseling (4 credits)
  • COU771Ethics & Professional Orientation: Mental Health Counseling Internship 1 (4 credits)
  • COU772Ethics & Professional Orientation: Mental Health Counseling Internship 2 (4 credits)
Supplementary Courses (12 credits; 6 credits if a SUNY New Paltz M.S. in School Counseling graduate)
  • 4 supplementary courses (3 credits each), based on advisement following transcript review; only 2 courses required if a SUNY New Paltz M.S. in School Counseling graduate
Mandatory Training